Airport workers strikes threaten travel chaos

Workers at airports in Spain have said that they will stage a series of strikes from Easter through to the end of July. The planned stoppages by Spanish airport workers and possible industrial action by British Airway’s cabin crews may create havoc with itineraries for UK holidaymakers this summer.

The dispute in Spain erupted following the declaration of a scheme to privatise the state airport authority, Aena. So far, the state agency’s 12,500 ground staff have said they will stop work for 22 days during a three-month period beginning in the days before Easter.

Although airlines believe that a strike by baggage handlers could be coped with, if firemen joined the stoppage then Spanish airports would have to be shut down. In a worst-case scenario that saw air traffic controllers withdraw their services, then Spanish airspace would be out of bounds for flights to countries such as Morocco and Tunisia.

UK authorities believe the Easter strike action will force the cancellation of countless flights with tens of thousands of travellers affected. The situation could be exacerbated as British Airways cabin crews are at present being balloted over whether to take additional action over their long-running dispute with the airline’s management.

In 2010, Spain was the most popular holiday destination for Britons. The UK Civil Aviation Authority has issued figures that show 28 million passengers flew from Britain to Spain, a figure that might have been even bigger this year given the turmoil that Middle Eastern holiday spots are currently experiencing.



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